At the Gray Institute, the Principles (Truths) of Human Movement are the foundation of the Principles – Strategies – Techniques (PST) process, and therefore the basis of everything we espouse as being “functional”. One of the Principles is “everyone is an individual”. One patient/client’s desires and needs will never be exactly the same as someone else. This individuality of program exists within the framework of functional strategies that emanate from these Principles.
The Difference is the Individual
Because the PST process transcends all activities and sports, programs for rehabilitation from injury/surgery are not different from programs designed to improve performance. Programs to improve performance are fundamentally the same as programs for injury prevention. The difference lies not in the movements/exercises, but in the application, emphasis, and sequencing based upon the individuals present level of success.
It’s a Continuum, Not a Phase
In traditional rehabilitation, different phases are promoted, where selected attributes of function (motion, strength, and proprioception) are worked on separately. This is often seen as a hierarchy. Motion first, then strength, then proprioception/balance. At the Gray Institute, rehabilitation is seen as a continuum where everything is being worked on at the same time. If a client has good strength, that success is leverage to activate the proprioceptors to increase motion. If motion is good but strength and balance are deficient, then the motion serves as the basis for improving balance/stability.
Tweaking Toward a Goal
In training programs, this “universality” takes on a slightly different appearance. The goal of the training could be flexibility, strength, power, balance, endurance, or all of these attributes of functional movement. A client/athlete might have a specific goal. At the Gray Institute, there is not a separate program for each attribute/goal. The same functional total body movements (general and sport specific) can be tweaked to emphasize a goal. However, starting with success means using a successful attribute and then tweaking that movement to enhance the desired attribute/goal. Similar to rehab, these attribute/goals are not separate and distinct.
Enhance Training? Or Prevent Injury?
One of the real benefits of functional training using global movements is that programs to enhance training also work on injury prevention. Programs to prevent injuries will also have the additional benefit of enhancing performance. Injury prevention programs start with movements that can be tweaked to provide an emphasis for each of the attribute/goals. Certain motions and or positions that might cause injury are identified. These motions/positions of injury are not avoided because they are part of authentic function. Instead, the sequence of the program is designed to eventually take the client into these motions/positions. “Safer” successful movements are gradually tweaked into the motions/positions of concern. By building upon successful movements, and by making the progressions subtle, the client learns to safely and successfully execute movements that might be considered “dangerous” by some.
Progress to Enhance
Movements that are a natural part of a sport or activity only become dangerous when the person is not able to decelerate the movement and then accelerate back. Whether it is rehabilitation, improving performance, or preventing injury, programs based on the PST process do not avoid movements that are part of function. Rather they are designed to provide a progression that enhances those movements.